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Palace: Gov't checking if sugar shortage artificial

Philippine authorities will continue to inspect warehouses to determine whether or not the shortage in the supply of sugar was contrived, Press Secretary Trixie Cruz-Angeles said on Friday.

In an online news briefing, Cruz-Angeles said the governments next moves as regards the supply of sugar would depend on whether the supply issues were artificial.

"Subaybayan n'yo po at tuluy-tuloy kasi 'yung operasyon natin dito sa pagi-inspect ng mga warehouses so we can get to the bottom of what appears to be an artificial shortage," Cruz-Angeles said.

"Whether or not it is artificial will depend on the evidence produced by these warehouse operations," she added.

Asked if President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. would allocate all sugar output for crop year 2022-2023 for domestic use, Cruz-Angeles said, "Depende po 'yan sa magiging findings natin."

"Ang tinitingnan natin sa ngayon ay kung artificial ba ang shortage ng asukal o hindi at ang paga-allocate po ay magiging base sa kung mayroon ngang kakulangan o hindi. So titingnan pa po natin," Cruz-Angeles said.

Cruz-Angeles earlier confirmed that there was a proposal to import 150,000 metric tons of sugar. She said the importation details were still being worked out.

"Ito po 'yung sinasabi na 150,000 metric tons ng asukal na iimport, kalahati na mapupunta doon sa industrial users po. Wala naman pong ibang napagusapan," Cruz-Angeles said.

"Hindi pa po yata final, may winoworkout lang, iaannounce po namin kapag final na po ito, it is yes a proposal and is seriously being considered," she added.

Marcos earlier rejected the proposal to import 300,000 metric tons of sugar amid the increasing prices of the basic commodity.

Malacañang branded Sugar Order No. 4 as illegal, saying the Sugar Regulatory Board convened and issued a resolution without the approval of President Marcos, who currently sits as Agriculture secretary and also the board's chairperson.

Signatories of the controversial order, including Agriculture Undersecretary Leocadio Sebastian, board member Atty. Roland Beltran, and Sugar Regulatory Administration administrator Hermenegildo Serafica, have quit from their posts. —NB, GMA News